Monday, April 12, 2010

Infant potty training - the start

I think this is one of the less discussed baby topic in North America. Most people around me potty train their babies around 2-3 year old. Had I been raised in North America and wanting to stick to what the majority do, would I have ever considered infant potty training my baby? I don't know the answer to that.

However, I think I have taken it for granted that infants are being potty trained back home in China, at least in the old days. I remember when I was a kid, I saw other parents holding their little babies over a pot while blowing whistles, then the baby would pee in the pot. (Sure it sounds like magic if you tell this kind of story to Canadian moms; but it's very common practice in other parts of the world!) So the image was always in the back of my mind, but I never gave it any thought whether I should follow the same practice with my baby.

Then one day a seed was planted in my head. I was in my late pregnancy. Hubby and I were at his cousin's son's 2 year birthday party. The cousin has a Russian wife and Russian nanny, so they followed traditional Russian method to potty train their son since a few months old. Way before the baby turned two, he already wore his underwear instead of diapers, and the parents would only give him a diaper when they are out just in case. They were telling the stories in such pride and I was interested in hearing about it more than anything else. Then the cousin said to me, "I am sure there are such similar methods being practiced in Chinese culture as well." That's very true. And I believe in every old culture, there are practices and wisdom that should not be forgotten, as a result of new inventions (i.e. disposable diaper :)). That's when I thought I would want to start early to potty train my baby.

I had this idea, but I didn't really know how and when to do it. A few times I was on the phone with my family in China, I asked the questions to grandma. She had 4 children, so I trusted her experiences. But she can't remember much details, except for the stuff I already know. I can't blame her, that was over 80 years ago. Until one day, I heard a truly amazing story, when mom found the old diary she kept since my birth where she recorded my month-to-month developments and milestones: In January 1980, that's when I was about 2 month old, my potty training started, which is just a few times a day holding me over a pot to pee, and everyday at 8pm to poop (mom did not have enough breast milk for me, so I was on other foods, thus my poop was more regular and solid than breastfed babies, otherwise it would be very hard to have a poop schedule in my opinion); In May 1980, when I was about 6 month old, as recorded in the diary, I was able to go for a whole day without wetting my diaper some days! I was surprised and super excited about this new finding. As I don't feel that I am having any low self-esteem or other psychological issues due to early potty training, myself is the living proof that this method indeed works!

When Logan was 2 month, I seriously considered potty training him. First I did a lot of mental work, just to work it out in my head how exactly should I execute. With me still struggling between caring for him and keeping my sanity, it seemed like an impossible task to do at that time. Finally I decided to try it when Logan was 2.5 month old, and let me tell you it was a disaster! I undressed him on the change table in the living room, ran to the bathroom with him naked in my arms praying that he won't pee halfway; then held him over the toilet, blowing whistles like crazy. Logan didn't have a strong enough back and neck control back then, so he was squirming very uncomfortably in my hands, penis pointing to the sky! Then I had to worry about not dropping him into the toilet, and worry that if he really peed, both of us would have had a shower. Still I didn't catch a single drop of pee. After that, I decided we weren't ready for potty training yet; maybe we would try again later.

A quick Google showed me that in the western world, this practice is actually called "Elimination Communication". Between birth and 6 month, there is a window of opportunity babies can be introduced to potty!

After Logan turned 3 month, his neck and back control started to get stronger. With some help, he could sit up for a few moments at a time. That was an encouraging sign that maybe we could try to use the potty again. At 3.8 month, we officially started Logan's potty training! It's surprisingly easy with his increasing physical strength; and since he is more aware, he seems to understand what I want him to do when I bring him to the toilet. Logan quickly got a hang of it! It has been only 1 week since, and we have already seen amazing results. Logan does almost all of the poops in the toilet now, usually in the early morning immediately after waking up or the first feeding. Logan also knows that he should pee in the toilet; as long as he has pee, he will let go. During the daytime, I can catch as least half of his pee. The biggest benefit is that Logan never has to sit in the poopy diaper any more, which means no more diaper rash; and the number of diapers used is reduced a lot as well! Good job Logan, you are such a smart baby, we are so proud of you!

I am really glad that we started potty training this early. I am very optimistic about it, and hopeful that by the time Logan is mobile, he will already have the habit to go outside his diapers. I am also amazed at the same time! I don't believe that only the 2 or 3 year old can learn to use potty; babies are much smarter than we think! Give them a chance, their instinct will tell them it's much more comfortable when they don't pee and poo in their pants. :)


No comments: